The NECHV has served Veterans facing homelessness in Downtown Boston since 1989. Through the years, as society has developed a greater understanding of the causes and implications of the “homeless” condition, the Center has evolved and adapted, growing and adding comprehensive case management, education and employment services, focused recovery services, and behavioral health support.
- In 1989, then known as the Vietnam Veterans Workshop, 17 Court Street, Boston opened its doors. Founders Peace Foxx, Mark Helberg and Ken Smith realized their ambition to serve Veterans of the Vietnam conflict. Their efforts were enhanced by Atty Howard Levine, a well-respected Boston attorney who was instrumental in acquiring the building from the Federal Government.
- Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet wrote, produced, and directed “Sketches of War” a one night theater benefit starring Donald Sutherland, Al Pacino, Don Ameche, Christopher Walken and Michael J. Fox. Proceeds were donated to the Center and other Veteran charities.
- In 1993 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and NECHV applied to the United States Department of Labor and received a grant of $650,000 to establish the Veterans Training School. Retired General Colin Powell, then Secretary of State delivered the commencement address for the first graduating class. Today the program provides life skills training; personal financial planning and training associated with employment readiness, such as interview skills, resume creation, job search basics, money management and computer fundamentals.
- In 1996 the Women’s Dormitory was established, offering accommodations and support for Female Veterans for the first time.
- In 1997 formal behavioral health services were introduced with the establishment of a Dual Diagnosis treatment program for clinical support for Veterans with behavioral health and/or substance disorders.
- The John Joseph Moakley Veterans Quarters comprised of 59 permanent housing units (SRO’s) opened in 1997.
- In 2013, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans selected the NECHV as the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award in recognition of the Center’s impressive history of collaboration, service, and results in servicing homeless Veterans.
- In April 2015, the Center began a $31 million recapitalization to create 37 new efficiency apartments, and upgrade, renovate and reconfigure service space to enable newer and more varied models of service to Veterans for generations to come.